Freehold Regional High School District Chief Academic Officer Dr. Nicole Hazel presented the annual Testing and Assessment Report at last week’s Board of Education meeting. The report overviewed the 2012 High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) scores and provided an outline of New Jersey’s new accountability system.
The HSPA is a 3-day test in Mathematics and Language Arts; eleventh graders take the test for the first time in March. If the students are not pleased with their scores they have the opportunity to take the test again in October and March of their senior year.
School districts were required to have a 100 percent proficiency rate by the year 2014 under the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act. The Obama administration allowed states to apply for a flexibility waiver under the Elementary Secondary Education Act. This now gives districts a six-year time span in order to achieve proper targets, Hazel explained. Therefore, the district must close the achievement gap for the partially proficient students by 50 percent within a six-year time frame.
The annual progress targets are set in six equal increments, which started with base-line data from the 2010-2011 school year and goes through the 2016-2017 school year, according to Hazel.
In addition to the state department's application of new conditions of their updated formula and accountability system, separate progress targets for each of the subgroups have also been identified within each school.
The subgroup categories are as follows:
- American Indian
- Two or more Races
- Students with Disabilities
- Limited English Proficiency (students within the English as a Second Language (ESL) programs at Colts Neck High School)
- Economically Disadvantaged
- All Students
There must be at least 30 students within each category for their scores to be counted within that subgroup.
The state requires that all schools and subgroups meet, or exceed, the state proficiency rate of 90 percent or meet, or exceed, the individual performance target for each school.
Districts are categorized into district factor groups (DFG) by wealth, with "A" being the poorest communities in New Jersey and "J" being the wealthiest. The Freehold Regional High School District is categorized as DFG "GH".
State test scores are grouped by district factor groups and districts are pulled into that district factor group, Superintendent Charles Sampson explained. Next year, the state has decided to categorize and rank school systems differently by focusing on the demographics within each school building. Therefore, each school within the Freehold Regional district may be categorized into different groups with other schools in the state.
The FRHSD district as a whole exceeded the state average and the average for their DFG in the 2011-2012 HSPA.
During the March 2012 HSPA administration:
- 97.7 percent of FRHSD students passed the Language Arts Literacy portion (95.5 percent of students passed within DFG GH and 91.5 percent of students passed within the state of New Jersey)
- 90 percent of FRHSD students passed the Mathematics portion (87 percent of students passed within DFG GH and 79.3 percent of students passed within the state of New Jersey)
Percentage Passed 2011-2012 HSPA
SCHOOLS LANGUAGE ARTS MATHEMATICS Colts Neck 97.6 94.5 Freehold 95.7 92 Freehold Township 97.1 92.4 Howell 99.6 94.2 Manalapan 98.1 96.3 Marlboro 99.4 95.9
“We are very, very pleased with the performance in our schools,” Hazel said. “We really feel like we’re on the right track we’re actually down to handfuls of students that we are working with going through their individual school reports and targeting their assistance so that they can meet the High School Proficiency Assessment with success.”